By Ryan Mayer
The college football bowl season is upon us. With 40 games spread out over the next two weeks there is plenty of opportunity to add a little bonus to your holiday gift pile. Our bowl picks series will let you know who we think will come out on top against the spread. All lines and totals courtesy of Sportsline/Bookmaker.eu. Find all our picks here.
All lines listed are as of publishing date. As always lines may change in the lead up to games so be sure to check.
Georgia Tech vs. Kentucky
Spread: Georgia Tech -3.5
Spread: The Yellow Jackets under Paul Johnson have run an offense that you’d expect to see out of the service academies, the triple option, but not necessarily a Power 5 school. However, Johnson has made it work. This is Johnson’s sixth winning season in nine years with the program and his eighth bowl bid in that span. The Jackets are a run-heavy team (10th FBS 257.4 YPG), but that doesn’t mean they can’t pass. QB Justin Thomas has been one of the better passers that Johnson has had in his tenure at Tech and this season has completed 74 of his 135 attempts, which isn’t efficient, but those completions have gone for 1,424 yards averaging 11.1 yards-per-attempt and 20.2 yards per completion. While they don’t throw often, when they do, it results in big plays. For Kentucky, the good news is they have been pretty good against the pass allowing opponents to complete just 57.9% of their passes and allowing 214.5 yards per game. The bad news? The Wildcats have been killed by the running game this year. The ‘Cats have given up 225.8 yards per game (108th FBS) on the ground including 5.1 yards per carry. That’s bad news against a triple option offense that requires discipline in assignments and puts stress on the front seven that’s wildly different from other offenses.
Kentucky has been pretty impressive on the ground in its own right this year. The Wildcats have posted 241.3 yards per game on the ground (16th FBS) and Tech’s defense has been just average in stopping the run allowing 174.2 yards per game (67th FBS) and 4.7 yards per carry. Kentucky has also been very good in the red zone offensively converting on 87.2% of their trips inside the 20. The combination of Boom Williams and Benjamin Snell have put up 2,192 yards and 20 touchdowns this season and could have a big game here. Both teams should have big days on the ground, but I’ll take the Yellow Jackets by a TD. Georgia Tech -3.5
Total: As you probably gathered from the above paragraphs, this one could be high-scoring and filled with some explosive runs on both sides. That being the case, we could be wading into a 35-28, 37-30 type game. Over 61
Ryan Mayer is an Associate Producer for CBS Local Sports. Ryan lives in NY but comes from Philly and life as a Philly sports fan has made him cynical. Anywhere sports are being discussed, that’s where you’ll find him.